Wednesday, April 16, 2008

incompetents work in other businesses too

Remember when your (actual) mailbox held (actual) mail instead of bills, solicitations, discounts for stuff you don't want, and--what's this? A letter from your insurance company requesting information on a $20,000 claim that your nineteen-year old daughter submitted last fall--from college? OMG! When did she need $20K worth of medical care? Was she in an accident she didn't tell you about? Did something happen to her, something so horrible, she doesn't want you to know?

You speed dial her cell and (for once) she answers. "Hospital?" she says. "What are you talking about?" You're relieved...until you remember that thing called teenage denial. You're on hold with the insurance company for what seems like hours. Two people can't help because you can't tell them the name of the hospital. (But you hope there was no hospital!) Finally, someone with the authority to investigate your records gets on the line...and starts laughing! Turns out that the proof they requested from you last fall to show that your daughter is a full-time student (and thus eligible for coverage) was mistaken by drones in the back office for a claim. They submitted her college tuition bill to the claims office for payment! Even more astounding, the claims office didn't deny the charge, but spent time and postage sending out a letter (in triplicate) requesting a diagnosis code. For college tuition. No wonder insurance is so expensive, a third of the nation can't afford it.

In related news... the call I put in to Belkin tech support yesterday, the call that went through Levels 1, 2, 3...the call that was relegated to a "high level expert" who was to get back to me later, though I was warned that "due to high call volumes, wait for a callback could exceed 20 minutes." No kidding. Just got the callback. Thirty two hours later.


Anonymous said...

Picky, picky, picky. They said it may exceed 20 minutes.

Anonymous said...

I once read that something like 40% of the nations spending is toward insurance products. This baloney supports that. And do you just need a GED to work at an insurance agent?

Mine kept lowering my deductible without my knowledge to raise the premium. Fucks.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Ac--ha, you're right. Technically, what they said was correct. And since they are tech experts...

@Auntie--yikes. I'm checking out my deductibles pronto.

Rob Buccino said...

Hey AB --
Based on your post, I'm going to send my kid's private school tuition bill to my health insurer and see if they pay the claim. Can't hurt to try, right?

Re your Kindle vs Belkin: I'm still waiting on a check from a class action settlement Belkin is supposed to pay up on, based on deceptive claims they got caught making about their products. And when a device I bought from them burned out a few weeks later, it took two weeks for them to send a replacement. (Of course I couldn't shut down my consultancy for two weeks, so now I have a spare, obsolete wireless router.) So good luck with them.

And as for 800 numbers (your previous post): there's a great site,, that shows you the numbers and symbols to press to get around automated voice systems and actually reach human beings at major corporations. Useful to have handy when technology fails us.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Rob, thanks for this excellent link and ingenious URL which I'm sure I'll be using a lot. ARGGGHHH

Anonymous said...

For sheer incompetence, it's hard to beat the Transportation Safety Administration. In the past 5 years, at O'Hare Airport alone, they have lost 400 of their uniforms and badges.

The people who are supposed to be protecting us don't even know where their pants are.

It would be funny if it weren't so frightening.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

TSA strip-searcher without pants himself, now there's a visual, thanks for it, AC.